In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of...
The path to writing a book and getting it published is, without doubt, one that winds a lot.
On the way there will be plenty of dead-ends and no shortage of obstacles to circumnavigate.
However, what makes all the anguish worthwhile, are the moments that result from starting out and that are every bit as gratifying as the writer’s block, rejection letters and suggested revisions are aggravating.
I find there are usually three ways to deal with virtually any situation in life: ignore it and carry on regardless, take it badly or use it for inspiration. It’s no coincidence that there really was something to learn from each ‘bad’ moment along the way.
Writer’s block: (which I hardly ever got) you’re trying to hard, go and do something else for a bit, or skip this section for now, it’s obviously not flowing.
Rejection letters: there’s always a lot of luck involved, but are you sure you’ve sent the book to the people who are most likely to have an interest in it?
‘Suggested’ Revisions: the biggest benefit of having a publisher is someone else who cares about your book almost as much as you do looking at it objectively. Every single one of the suggestions my publisher and editor put to me have made the book better. I confess that, once or twice, I had to count to ten, because I thought the book was finished. Fortunately I made it to the last finger on the second hand, started to look at what they were advocating without the frustration from the process and the book was better for it.
And what about those moments that make it all worthwhile? I’m reliably told that having the first copy in your hand is one of them, but I’ve not reached that point yet. Thus far the highlights have been:
- Realising I had the structure of a book that excited me: you’re going to be working on it for a while, so you need to keep yourself interested!
- Every five thousand word threshold as I wrote.
- Finishing the first draft and seeing that I had written a book (even if I did have no clue whether anyone would be interested enough in it to publish it).
- Getting a meeting with a publisher.
- Walking through the door of the publishers.
- Receiving a contract.
- Getting a cheque for the first part of the advance.
- Seeing the cover for the first time.
And here is that cover….
It’s still making me smile…. 🙂